This much I know: Space Cowboy, Performance Artist

I have always been a 100 per cent show off. Ever since I learnt to ride my sister’s unicycle when I was eight years old — the attention I received as I rode to school got me hooked.

This much I know: Space Cowboy, Performance Artist

I joined a kid’s circus in my home town — Byron Bay, Australia, at eight years old but since then the world has been my teacher.

I have now performed in more than 30 countries. I am constantly inspired by others and my passion for the bizarre and my need for knowledge has kept me keen and to learn more every day.

I was always outgoing, adventurous and bold. Only my age has changed.

I left school early because I knew that I would learn more on my travels. I have always had a thirst for knowledge. I am 37 now, I read every day and I have never looked back.

My family were always very supportive of whatever I wanted to do. I am sure that my mother didn’t think that I would make my living by pushing swords down my throat and catching flaming arrows blindfolded but my career has been a slow progression so my parents have had time to adjust their expectations.

I love what I do and I know that others love watching it so in my opinion that makes it more than worth it. Some things that I perform are more painful than others but that is just part of it. I like to push the boundaries of what is psychically possible.

For instance I currently hold 34 Guinness World records (the most for an Australian) and I love doing them all but some of my records are more extreme than others. Some of my painful records include swallowing 24 swords at the same time, extinguishing 22 flaming blowtorches with my tongue and dragging 411kg vehicles with my eye sockets.

Most of my other records are not painful but they have an inherent risk like when I broke the record for most chainsaw juggling catches on a unicycle; fastest knife throwing and most flowers whip cracked from the mouth in one minute.

I just like a challenge and I love putting these challenges into my performances for people to enjoy.

My first tattoo was a full back piece, a pair of wings that cover my entire back and took over 40 hours of tattooing. I had it inked by five different artists in five different countries. To me it is a symbol of travel and freedom.

Now I have added many more tattoos and body mods to my collection and I am planning more soon.

I live with my partner and our two year old daughter in Byron Bay.

I train every day and perform and travel regularly but I still always find time for my family. It is the balance that makes life so enjoyable for me.

The only thing I fear is being an old man and looking back at my life in disappointment because I didn’t follow my dreams.

I like this 2,000 year old advice by Rabbi Hillel: “If I am not for me, who will be? If I am only for me, what am I? If not now, when?”

I think it means: “Sort yourself out, protect yourself and ensure your own survival — if you don’t, you can achieve nothing. However, selfishness is empty, so ensure that you make a positive difference to others, and do it now.”

The trait I most admire in other people is kindness.

My main fault is sometimes I am too focused so that I can get quite obsessive when I want to do something.

If I could be reborn as someone else for a day I’d be Kim Peak. He was an American savant. I would like to know what it feels like to remember everything that I have ever heard, seen or read since the day I was born.

I hate the extreme divide in wealth in our society. I do not understand how someone can be wealthy beyond their wildest needs and at the same time so many families are literally starving to death.

I believe that we are all connected and when we die we are just passing through another transition in our existence.

So far I’ve learnt that life is what you make it. If you don’t like where you are at just keep changing things until you are happy.

The Space Cowboy will perform at at Laya Healthcare’s City Spectacular in Dublin’s Merrion Square on July 10-12 and Cork’s Fitzgerald Park on July 18 and 19. Free festival, details at www.cityspectacular.com 

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